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Undergraduate

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Masters

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PhD

     
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The upgrade

Initially you are registered for the MPhil degree. If you wish to proceed to a PhD, your registration needs to be changed accordingly. The purpose of the upgrade is to assess progress and the ability to complete the PhD programme in the required time frame. For full-time students the upgrade to PhD occurs within 12-18 months from the start of your MPhil (In most cases that means an upgrade during the first or second term of year two). Part-time students, whose programme of study is typically five years, should upgrade within 20-30 months of their study, usually during the first or second term of the third year.

You have two possible attempts at upgrade. The period between first and second attempt should usually be no more than 6 months for full-time students and no more than 10 months for part-time students. You should have met both Supervisors during the term before upgrading. You should not use the upgrade meeting as an opportunity for a tutorial from your Second Supervisor. If you are transferring from other Universities and Departments, you are expected in normal circumstances to undertake the upgrading procedures regardless of whether you were upgraded in another institution.

Entering the upgrade procedure is conditional on completing the Graduate School’s Research Student Log and appropriate participation in the Skills training programme, including the Department’s Research Training Seminar and seminars at the IHR, the ICS or other relevant institutions.

In advance of the upgrade procedure, the Principal Supervisor has to submit to the Graduate Tutor a formal report on your work, which is forwarded to the student and the upgrade committee.

The upgrade committee is appointed and chaired by the Graduate Tutor and includes the Second Supervisor and one other expert. The First Supervisor participates in the upgrade procedures as an observer.

The upgrade procedure has three elements: the submission of written work to the upgrade committee; a 20 minute oral presentation to the Research Training Seminar, followed by discussion; and an oral examination by the upgrade committee.

1. The submission of written work to the upgrade committee

This must include:

· A short statement describing the project as a whole

· An outline of the chapters of the thesis

· A substantial piece of written work based on primary research and historiography (usually a chapter of about 10,000 words)

· A bibliography of essential primary and select secondary sources

· A timetable for completion

All the above must be approved by your First Supervisor prior to submission, and four copies delivered to the Postgraduate Administrator, at least one week before the RTS presentation.

2. 20 minute oral presentation to the Research Training Seminar

All members of the upgrade committee should normally attend this presentation. You are expected to follow a predefined scheme and answer a set of specific questions, in a 20 minute presentation:

a. What is the thesis about? This must make sense to historians working on different periods or in other history sub-disciplines. Prepare a 150 word summary. Ensure you explain the time frame, geographical scope and main research questions.

b. Why does this subject matter? How does the thesis relate to existing historiography and how does it contribute to current debate? Will it be of interest beyond the academy?

c. What key sources are you using?

d. What are your methods of analysis?

e. Provide one example from the material on which you have worked

You must discuss your presentation with your First Supervisor before you prepare it and you must inform the Postgraduate Administrator at least one week in advance if you need technical assistance. Please prepare a handout with your name, the title of the thesis, the main points of your presentation, important dates and names, essential bibliography etc. Maps are useful for many subjects.

Following the presentation and discussion, the upgrade committee will decide whether the presentation was satisfactory. If so, you may proceed to stage 3. If not, you may be required to fulfil conditions such as a satisfactory completion of a presentation skills course, or written submission of a revised presentation by a precise date, before you can proceed to stage 3. If you do not meet the prescribed deadline and there are no extenuating circumstances, you may continue to work towards an MPhil. If you have complied with the conditions, but your performance is still not satisfactory, you may make one further attempt, or continue to work towards an MPhil.

3. An oral examination by the upgrade committee

You will meet the upgrade committee to discuss your written work, normally within 2-3 weeks of the RTS seminar presentation. The upgrade committee will give supportive advice in order to help you complete your thesis successfully. At the end of this meeting, the committee will agree one of the following options:

Option 1 – you are recommended for upgrade to PhD status

Option 2 – you are referred to a specific date for a second attempt, and you have to resubmit written work as specified by the committee and to pass a second oral examination

Option 3 – you are referred to a specific date for a second attempt, and you have to resubmit written work as specified by the committee, which it will assess without the need for a second oral examination

The committee will inform you of their decision at the end of the meeting. The Graduate Tutor will compile a short report which is kept in your file.

For Options 2 or 3, the second attempt must normally take place within six months (for full-time students), or ten months (for part-time students).

If you do not meet the prescribed deadline and there are no extenuating circumstances, you may continue to work towards an MPhil. If you have complied with the conditions, but your performance is still not satisfactory, you may make one further attempt, or continue to work towards an MPhil.

You may appeal on procedural grounds, but not against the committee’s academic judgement. See www.ucl.ac.uk/current-students/guidelines/your_rights/grievance for details of the appeal procedure

Page last modified on 25 feb 13 16:08 by Joanna Fryer